As social distancing regulations slowly ease in the coming weeks and months, the John Paul II Office for the New Evangelization wants Catholics to be able to “Step Out Stronger” when they resume their post-pandemic routines.

The office is launching a program designed to equip individuals and families with some tools to use the remainder of their time in isolation for spiritual growth.

“The idea of it, essentially, is are we going to come out of quarantine — this highly difficult, trying time of suffering — weaker or stronger?” said Pete Burds, director of the JPII Office. “At the heart of the initiative is, how can we step out of our doors on Tuesday, May 26, closer to Jesus?”

Step Out Stronger tackles that question with a three-pronged approach of prayer, discipleship and reflection, explained Burds:

— One Percent Prayer: Participants will be sent an audio recording guiding them through prayer and Scripture reflection, helping them to devote about 1 percent of their day (roughly 15 minutes) to prayer.

— Live It: Participants will also receive suggestions for one concrete action per day to live out their baptismal call by loving God or their neighbor.

— Upper Room Retreat: On the heels of their “Into the Quiet” virtual retreat hosted by Fr. Luke Strand in late March, the JPII Office will offer another virtual retreat from May 15-17. The retreat will focus on the Acts of the Apostles, which opens with Christ’s disciples locked in the upper room, sequestering themselves from a hostile and uncertain world. “It feels that way — we’re kind of locked in our upper rooms; yet at the same time the Lord is preparing us for Pentecost, which obviously happens May 31,” said Burds.

Ultimately, he added, Step Out Stronger aims to assist Catholics in confronting “how their lives have changed in the midst of all this” — and in asking that all-important question: “Is Jesus at the center?”

For more information on Step Out Stronger, visit: